The kidneys filter wastes from the blood and make urine. When the blood vessels that supply the kidneys with blood narrow, it’s called renal artery stenosis. The narrowing lowers the amount of blood flowing to one or both kidneys. Problems in both can lead to kidney failure.
The Kidney and its Main Blood Vessels
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The kidneys control blood pressure. They help make sure the body has enough oxygen and blood. Narrowing causes blood pressure to go up. High blood pressure is a leading cause of stroke and heart attack.
The 2 most common causes are:
Risk is higher if you:
Most people don’t have problems. When they do appear, they may cause:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. You may also have:
Care involves lowering blood pressure. This will help lower stress on the kidneys. Care may involve:
There aren’t specific steps to prevent this condition.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
National Kidney Foundation
The Kidney Foundation of Canada
Balk E, Raman G, Chung M, et al. Effectiveness of management strategies for renal artery stenosis: A systematic review. Ann Intern Med. 2006;145(12):901-912.
Krumme B, Donauer J. Atherosclerotic renal artery stenosis and reconstruction. Kidney Int. 2006;70(9):1543-1547.
Renal artery stenosis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115312/Renal-artery-stenosis . Updated September 8, 2017. Accessed June 11, 2018.
Zeller T. Renal artery stenosis: Epidemiology, clinical manifestation, and percutaneous endovascular therapy. J Interv Cardiol. 2005;18(6):497-506.
Last reviewed May 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Adrienne Carmack, MD
Last Updated: 06/11/2018